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Comparison of Different El Niño and La Niña Events

While El Niño and La Niña are often associated with consistent climate anomalies throughout the globe, differences in the tropical SST pattern, basic atmospheric state over the globe and "random" climate variability mean that the climate anomalies may not be the same from event to event. These plots give an indication of how similar and how different the atmosphere can be during events.
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Go to preplotted comparisons of: Compare different variables for El Niño and La Niña events using the: Examine average winter and summer ENSO associated climates
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Monthly Anomaly Plots during El Niño (E) and La Niña (L)

Based on NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Dataset Variable

Variable Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr Current Plot
SLP E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L X
200mb Geopotential Height E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L -
200mb Zonal wind E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L -
850mb Zonal wind E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L -
850mb Meridional wind E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L -
Surface Temperature E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L X
 
Precipitation Rate E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L X
new SST E L E L E L E L E L E L E L E L X
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Animations of Past El Niño and La Niña Events Using Weekly Sea Surface Temperature Data

El Niño La Niña
1982-83SST   (JAN82 - JUL83) 1983-84SST   (JAN83 - JUL84)
1991-92SST   (JAN91 - JUL92) 1988-89SST   (JAN88 - JUL89)
1994-95SST   (JAN94 - JUL95) 1995-96SST   (JAN95 - JUL96)
1997-98SST   (JAN97 - Present) 1998-99SST   (JAN98 )
Comparison of 4 El Niño events     (JAN - Present)
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Tropical Pacific Time-Longitude Crossections of Past El Niño and La Niña Events Using Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) Data

OLR is a measure of cloudtop temperature. Where the temperature is low, the cloudtop is high indicating the presence of "convection" (precipitation) in the region.

Data are averaged over 10N to 10S.

 

El Nino: OLR Total Field 1982-83, 1986-87, 1991-92 and 1997-98
enso.different.html( OLR Anomalies 1982-83, 1986-87, 1991-92 and 1997-98
 
La Nina: OLR Total Field 1975-76, 1984-85, 1988-89 and 1998-99
 
  OLR Anomalies 1975-76, 1984-85, 1988-89 and 1998-99
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Comparison of US temperature and precipitation for different events

Temperature during El Niño. [ps(18M)]
Precipitation during El Niño [ps (18M)]

Temperature during La Niña. [ps (18M)]
Precipitation during La Niña [ps (18M)]

For a more complete look at temperature and precipitation in the US, see the Climate Prediction Center's La Nina and El Nino impact pages.

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ENSO Index: Comparison of the 1997-8 El Nino with other events

MEI Time Series Illustration MEI Time Series Illustration